Narrations: A Charlotte Mason Companion: Ch 17-19

Narrations from Karen Andreola’s book, A Charlotte Mason Companion

Chapter 17:  Teaching Composition

Charlotte Mason’s method of teaching composition begins with narration.  Young students are taught to tell back what they hear from good books.  They narrate increasing longer sections until they can easily speak for about two pages of written text on something that they have been read.  They begin copywork, from which spelling is learned, when they are very young.  And then as they grow, they begin copying their own oral narrations that have been transcribed for them by an adult.  From that point, they begin to write narrations on their own, but little attention is required to grammar and spelling in the rough draft.  They begin actual study of grammar in about the fourth grade.  Learning to write narrations after they have already mastered oral narration insures that they will develop their own style.

Chapter 18: Kernels of Wisdom

My favorite quote from this section:

Narration should not be accepted as perfect unless it really is so.  “One, two, three, four things hae been left out.  Who can give them?” Imperfect narration means imperfect attention.  Perfect attention is easier to give than imperfect.

And the question that I’d like to ask Charlotte is “How do I apply this principle when I’m working with only one child.  Is he really expected to remember everything perfectly with nothing to jog his memory?”

Chapter 19:  Reading by Sight and Sound

Reading should not be formally taught  until the child is fully six years old.  However, before six, you should acquaint the child with the alphabet and the sounds of letters.  When you do this, you should use games and manipulatives and be careful not to frustrate the child. Once you begin to really teach reading, you should use a mix of phonics and sight words.  This will add to the child’s vocabulary quickly, but without frustrating him.  Sight reading gives a break from constant decoding and allows the child to add words to their experience that cannot be sounded out.

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